Ex-Marine sharpshooter Bryan Riley tells cops 'I'm a sick guy' as he 'CONFESSES' to shooting family of four & dog dead

AN ex-Marine sharpshooter told cops he's "a sick guy" as he "confessed" to shooting a family of four and their dog dead, it was reported on Monday.

Bryan Riley, 33, was taken into custody in Lakeland, Florida, and booked into Polk County jail on Sunday after fatally shooting three people and a baby at a home before ambushing police.

Following the horrific killings, Riley was interviewed over the weekend and admitted to shooting a handful of people because voices told him to do it, an affidavit obtained by The Washington Post says.

According to the affidavit, as Riley responded to the police's question on why he shot the baby, the ex-marine said: "Because I’m a sick guy.

"I want to confess to all of it and be sent to jail."

He told officers, as per the affidavit, that his victims begged him to stop amid the shooting spree.

Police were also told by Riley about his "exit strategy" — which consisted of a pickup truck being set on fire nearby the shooting.

Riley has been accused of first-degree murder, attempted first-degree murder, attempted first-degree murder of a law enforcement officer, armed burglary with battery, arson, cruelty to an animal and shooting into an occupied dwelling.

During his first court appearance on Monday, Riley was denied bail as he faced a total of 17 counts.

Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said Riley told detectives, "You know why I did this" — but a motive is not yet known, Fox4kc reports.

Riley was apprehended after a massive gunfight with police in which he was shot at least once and later surrounded.

The armor-clad gunman was identified as a former Marine who believed he could speak to God.

His victims were named on Monday as Theresa Lanham, 33, Justice Gleason, 40, and their three-month-old son Jody, according to DailyMail.com.

The baby's 62-year-old grandmother was also shot dead but has not yet been named.

The family's dog was also killed and an 11-year-old girl was critically injured after being shot seven times.

She was rushed to hospital for surgery and as of Monday morning is in a critical but stable condition.


The former Marine sharpshooter turned "survivalist," who was reportedly high on meth, told his victims he'd been sent by God to save their daughter from a suicide attempt.

Cops believe Riley had no connection to the family and was not from the area.

He later recounted for police how the family begged for their lives but he murdered them anyway, SheriffJudd said.

Even after Riley was arrested on Sunday morning, he reportedly became so aggressive that he attempted to wrestle a gun from police while handcuffed to a hospital gurney.

Judd said that Riley, who served in both Iraq and Afghanistan in the 2010s, seemed to have targeted his victims at random and appeared to be suffering from mental health issues.

Riley's girlfriend apparently told investigators that he had been slowly unraveling for weeks leading up to the shooting, repeatedly telling her that he could communicate directly with God.

"This guy, prior to this morning, was a war hero," Judd said of Riley during a Sunday press conference, adding he's not a "traditional criminal" who had virtually no criminal history.

"And this morning, he's a cold, calculated murderer," Judd added.

The sheriff also said that so far investigators have found "zero connection between our shooter and our victims."

Riley's girlfriend told cops he suffers from PTSD and had a job as an “executive protection specialist” for a company based in Tarpon Springs.


Riley reportedly first made contact with his victims on Saturday evening.

Gleason had been outside of his home mowing his lawn when Riley pulled up outside of his home, telling him God had instructed him to stop because Gleason's daughter "Amber" was going to kill herself.

One of the other victims confronted Riley, telling him that he was wrong and that no Amber lived at the home, warning him they'd call the police if he didn't leave, Judd said.

The woman called 911 at around 7.30pm. Officers responded to the home and spent 20 minutes looking for Riley but found no trace of him.

As it would later be revealed, according to Judd, Riley returned home to his girlfriend in Brandon and told her that he'd seen a man on a lawnmower and that God had sent him a message to stop his daughter's suicide.

At that point, the girlfriend reportedly told him he could not speak to God, to which he replied: "There's no room for doubters in my life."

The girlfriend said she then went to bed, and he was gone by the time she woke up.


Riley returned to Gleason's home at around 4.30am on Sunday, allegedly laying out glowsticks to create a path leading to the house to draw officers “into an ambush,” Judd said.

A lieutenant responding to a separate call around two minutes away heard a volley of what he thought was automatic gunfire and immediately called for backup.

Seconds later, the sheriff's office said it began receiving calls about an active shooter.

Officers arrived at the home to find a white truck ablaze in the driveway and an unarmed Riley, dressed in camouflage.

He immediately ran inside when he saw the officers. They then heard another round of gunfire, followed by a woman screaming and a baby whimpering, Judd said.

Officers tried to enter the home through the front door but it was barricaded.

When they made their way to the rear of the property, they encountered Riley, who appeared to have put on full body armor, including head and knee coverings and a bulletproof vest.

Riley then shot at the lieutenant who first arrived on scene. The cop returned fire and was able to run away from the home.

That's when the suspect starting shooting at other deputies and officers with the Lakeland Police Department.


Authorities exchanged heavy gunfire, with dozens “if not hundreds of rounds” fired, before Riley retreated back into the home, according to Judd.

At least one of those bullets struck Riley. He then emerged from the home with his hands in the air as a PCSO helicopter swarmed above.

Inside the home, police found an 11-year-old girl with multiple gunshot wounds.

She told law enforcement there were three other bodies inside the home before being airlifted to an area hospital.

Cops recovered the bodies of 40-year-old Justice Gleason, a 33-year-old woman and a 3-month-old baby, who was in the woman’s arms dead inside the home. In another residence on the property, they also found the body of a 62-year-old woman. 

"I will never be able to unsee that mother with that infant laying deceased in her arms as she lay dead," Judd emotionally recalled on Sunday.


Judd called Riley "evil in the flesh" and likened him to "a rabid animal."

Police were also concerned that he had booby-trapped the home when they entered it after the shoot-out. They also found blood-stop kits and first-aid kits inside of his truck.

Judd said Riley was "ready for battle", before appearing to express regret that officers weren't able to end his life.

"He came out with his hands up and that's why there was no more gunfire. It would be nice if he had come out with a gun and then we would have been able to read a newspaper through him and we'd be having a different conversation right now," Judd said.

"But, when someone gives up we take them into custody peacefully. If he had given us the opportunity, we'd have shot him up a lot. But, he didn't because he's a coward.

He continued: "It's easy to shoot innocent children and babies and people in the middle of the night when you've got a gun, but he's not much of a man."

No officers were injured in the Sunday morning shootout.

Judd concluded the news conference Sunday morning by saying: "Crazy people with guns are dangerous – good people with guns keep crazy people with guns at bay.

"Our deputies and police officers were the good people with guns tonight." 

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